The New England Patriots will add Antonio Brown before Week 2. And they play the miserable Miami Dolphins next Sunday.
If you wanted some hope that we’d get someone other than the Patriots in this season’s Super Bowl, there was none to be found on Sunday night. The Patriots looked better than ever in dismantling the Pittsburgh Steelers 33-3. It was reminiscent of the most dominant Patriots games from 2004, 2007, 2014 or whichever great New England team you want to pick.
Tom Brady looked great again. Brady became the first 42-year-old quarterback in NFL history with a 300-yard game, and he had that before the end of the third quarter. Josh Gordon is back, scoring touchdowns. New England can run the ball when it has to, and now has plenty of weapons in the passing game. They’ll be even more dangerous when Brown plays next week (assuming he plays ... after the past few weeks, nothing seems certain with him). And to top it all off, the defense looked phenomenal.
The Patriots raised another banner on Sunday night. And based on our first glimpse of the 2019 Patriots, they might be better than last year’s championship squad.
Patriots look great on offense and defense
The Steelers beat the Patriots in the regular season last year. Pittsburgh had Brown back then, but that doesn’t entirely explain the difference in results. The Patriots look much improved this season, and again, they’re coming off a championship.
It was pretty clear early on the Patriots were the superior team. The defense gave the Steelers nothing. The Patriots gave up 87 yards and four first downs before halftime and led 20-0. Gordon scored in the first quarter, Phillip Dorsett scored in the second quarter and the rout was on. Dorsett scored a 58-yard touchdown in the third quarter just to pile on. All the while, the defense kept frustrating Pittsburgh.
There will be plenty said in the upcoming week about the Steelers, and how they don’t have enough offensive playmakers in the post-Brown era. That could end up being a problem all season. But it looked like the Steelers were simply overwhelmed by a much better team on Sunday night. That might happen to a lot of Patriots opponents this season. The Dolphins, who lost 59-10 at home to Baltimore on Sunday, are in a lot of trouble next week.
New England could be better than last season
The Patriots were obviously good last season, but perhaps a little short of great. They needed a miraculous Eagles win over the Texans late in the season to get a top-two seed in the AFC. It was a team that found ways to win in the playoffs, and they absolutely earned their Lombardi Trophy. But based on the opener this season, this Patriots team has a chance to be dominant from beginning to end.
A sense of dread washed over most non-Patriots fans on Saturday when New England landed Brown, who got himself released from the Raiders and landed right on his feet. There’s no guarantee the erratic Brown will suddenly become a good teammate just because he’s in New England. He could be just as disruptive there as he was in Pittsburgh and Oakland, and Bill Belichick wouldn’t put up with that very long.
But we all saw on Sunday night, the Patriots don’t even need Brown, perhaps the best receiver of this decade. That’s scary.
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